A fiesta and a chapel, 2-A A +A
Saturday, August 17, 2013
THE origin of the veneration by the people of Barangay Inayawan of St. Augustine of Hippo has been traced to Enrique Jaca of the Jaca clan, which has been listed recently by the Cebu City government as among the 75 Cebuano families of distinction. What started as a family ritual ended up being adopted by a village, resulting in the construction of a chapel.
The year was 1896, or 117 years ago.
I am largely clueless as to the life Enrique led, but sources say he entered the seminary but was dismissed following a dispute with his professor. So instead of becoming a priest, he became a local leader.
Interestingly, when I googled “Enrique Jaca,” I saw an entry about him in chanrobles.com, a website on legal cases, titled, “G.R. No. L-8622-United States of America vs. Enrique Jaca.” “United States of America” was the plaintiff because the case involving contempt of court was filed in Nov. 17, 1913 when the country was still a colony of the US.
The “Enrique Jaca” mentioned was municipal president of Moalboal and special deputy of the provincial governor. This confirmed earlier information from one of Enrique’s heirs that he left for Moalboal because of his frustrations about the lowering of the status of Pardo, where Inayawan once belonged, to a barrio (barangay) under Cebu City.
He had wanted Pardo to be attached instead to the smaller Talisay town thinking the setup would make it easier for his home place to become a town again in the future.
What this shows is Enrique’s “rebellious” streak, one that also surfaced in his refusal to donate to the Catholic Church the lot on which the St. Augustine de Hippo chapel in Inayawan stood because he did not want priests to have sole control of the chapel’s finances.
This became a problem because, aside from producing heirs to Gaudencia Gako, he also had children with two other women. The daughter of one of these children asserted “ownership” of Enrique’s properties, including the chapel lot, a few years ago. This sparked a row that resulted in priests being barred from holding masses in the chapel.
The Inayawan St. Augustine de Hippo Chapel Association is seeking to remedy this by linking up with Enrique’s legitimate grandchildren (with Gako) so a deed of usufruct could be executed allowing the Catholic Church to “possess” the chapel.
But even if that happens, there is the problem of what to do with the other structure built by the Parish Pastoral Council in a nearby lot as a result of the row. It is intended to be a church for a quasi-parish but I understand that the Cebu Archdiocese is not into setting up “quasi-parishes.”
Creating a new parish is also problematic because the area is located between the parishes of Pardo and San Roque. It would mean chopping off chunks from the said
parishes’ jurisdiction and giving these to the new one.
Then there’s the question of which patron and feast date will the new “quasi-parish” or “parish” adopt considering that St. Augustine has been identified with the old chapel for more than a century already. Transferring St. Augustine could spark a “rebellion” from Inayawan old timers.
Besides, the “Guidelines for Community Chapels in a Parish” issued by the Pastoral Planning Board of the Archdiocese of Cebu has stated that “the fiesta of a new chapel must not rival or conflict with the fiesta of an older chapel to which they were former members.”
That refers to a “new chapel,” of course, and not to a new parish or quasi-parish.
Still, resolving the patron saint issue for the new parish or quasi-parish would be tricky considering tradition.
I believe, though, that the people and institutions involved in this conflict are reasonable and will eventually resolve the conflict to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 17, 2013.